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Adding Filter Media to Downflow (Backwashing) Neutralizers

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Earlier this week a customer wrote to us with a question about adding more calcite media to his neutralizer.  A simple question, really, but with a potentially complicated answer, depending on the  neutralizer in question.

The process of adding filter media to a neutralizer tank may differ a bit depending on what type of tank you have.  Adding filter media to a backwashing (downflow) neutralizer is different than adding media to an upflow neutralizer, and is further differentiated by the presence or lack of a top fill plug on either type of tank.  Today we’ll explain how to add calcite media to a backwashing neutralizer with or without a top fill plug.

If your tank does have a top fill plug (it will be a clearly visible plug near the top of the tank), follow these instructions:

Adding Calcite to Down-Flow Type Neutralizers with Top Plug
(this type has a backwash control valve)

Check pH before and after neutralizer periodically. A pH of less than 7.0 pH is acidic and a range of 7.2 to 8.0 is best for preventing corrosion of pipe and fixtures. Once or twice a year, depending on pH levels, add more calcite media to the neutralizer filter as follows:

1. Begin by putting neutralizer filter on bypass, or turning the water pressure off before the neutralizer.

2. Initiate a manual backwash cycle. Since it is on bypass, this will relieve the pressure inside the control valve so you can safely unscrew the media fill plug located on top of the neutralizer tank. Unplug the control valve cord from the wall outlet.

3. Unscrew the media fill plug with a channel locks or pliers and, using a tube or hose, syphon 2 to 3 gallons of water out of the filter tank. If you don’t syphon water out, water will flow out of the fill plug hole and onto the floor when you add your media. If water on the floor is OK then you do not have to syphon water out first before pouring calcite media into top fill plug hole.

4. Add neutralizer filter media until the tank is 2/3 full. Do not over-fill: be sure to leave at least 12″ of free space above media to allow room for the media to expand during a backwash.

5. Plug the control valve back in, and slowly turn the bypass valve back to the service position (if it’s in “service” this means it’s in the proper position for filtering and neutralizing). Allow the system to go through a complete backwash and rinse cycle. Repeat backwash cycle by starting another manual cycle, so the neutralizer is thoroughly backwashed and rinsed before putting it back into service.

 If your neutralizer does not have a top fill plug follow the instructions below:

Adding Calcite to Down-Flow Type Neutralizers without a Top Fill Plug

1. Begin by putting neutralizer filter on bypass, or turning the water pressure off before the neutralizer.

2. Initiate a manual backwash cycle. Since it is on bypass, this will relieve the pressure inside the control valve so you safely remove the backwash control valve on top of the neutralizer tank. Unplug the control valve cord from the wall outlet.

3. After you unscrew and remove the control valve, put a small tube or hose down into the distributor tube and syphon out a few gallons of water from the neutralizer. If you don’t syphon water out, when you add filter media, water will flow out the top of the tank and spill onto the floor. If water on the floor is OK then you do not have to syphon water out first before pouring calcite media into top fill plug hole.

4. Using tape (black electrical tape works well) tape off the top of the distributor tube so no media can get down into the distributor tube. Use one complete piece of tape and leave about a 1/2″ length of tape loose so you can easily remove the tape in one piece after you are finished adding the media.

5. Add neutralizer filter media until the tank is 2/3r full. Do not over-fill, be sure to leave at least 12″ of free space above media to allow room for the media to expand during a backwash.

6. Reinstall the backwash control valve. Plug the control valve cord back into the electrical outlet. Turn the bypass valve slowly back to the service position (if it’s in “service” this means it’s in the proper position for filtering and neutralizing. Allow the system to go through a complete backwash and rinse cycle. Repeat backwash cycle by starting another manual cycle, so the neutralizer is thoroughly backwashed and rinsed before putting it back into service.

Note that these instructions don’t apply if you have an upflow neutralizer. Tomorrow we’ll explain the difference between upflow and downflow neutralizers and provide instructions for filling them as we have done here.

If you have any questions or comments in the meantime, don’t hesitate to send them to support@cleanwaterstore.com, our Facebook page, or our online contact form.  Thanks for reading!

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Adding Filter Media to Downflow (Backwashing) Neutralizers”

  1. Great information on how to add media. Can you provide additional information on cleaning the tank and adding sand or gravel before adding the calcite?

    Thanks

  2. Hi, Gene.

    Generally with backwashing neutralizers you don’t need to clean out the tank when adding more media; it’s just a matter of adding more media to top it off. If you want, you can sanitize the tank at that time with a small amount of chlorine bleach (usually one cup will suffice) to kill off any accumulated algae or bacteria.

    If you’re looking into completely emptying the tank and re-bedding it with all new media, then that’s a more involved process. In that case, you would want to first siphon out as much water as possible to reduce the total weight of the tank. Then, slowly tip the tank over on its side (getting some assistance at this point might be a good idea, as it will likely be quite heavy) and dump the media out. We like to pour it onto a tarp to make it easier to deal with scooping up the old media and disposing of it. Use a garden hose to try and spray out the remaining media and base gravel, if you have it.

    Our Vortech tanks don’t require any base gravel, but for a non-Vortech tank, you will want to add 1/4″ x 1/2″ base gravel first, with the distributor tube in place and roughly centered. Make sure the tube is capped off with tape or a plug, and add your gravel prior to the neutralizing media. You can use these guidelines to determine how much to add:

    10″x44″ tank = 12 lbs
    10″ x 54″ tank =16 lbs
    12″ x 52″ tank = 20 lbs
    13″ x 54″ tank = 35 lbs

    After the gravel has been added, you can begin filling in the neutralizer media as described above.

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